Struggles of being eco-friendly

I’ve just read a tirade against tumble dryers. Evidently they are least eco-friendly of all the white goods in our homes (I’m guessing that the author of the piece is assuming that none of her readers are based in Dubai where air conditioning units whirr all day long). The point is, she argues, that we should not be using them at all.

Apparently each cycle costs about 50p in electricity, and we all know what damage they can do to clothes that aren’t 100% cotton. So far, so in agreement and I am pretty sparing on the use of the dryer function on my own washer dryer but sometimes needs must. I read on.

The journalist professes that despite having two young children and a husband to look after, she never once uses her drying machine, preferring instead to ‘hang the washing to dry on a rack in the utility room.’

And herein lies the rub. Like most city-dwelling creatures, space in my one-bedroom flat is at a premium: the mere concept of a utility room is a joke (the living room, which sometimes does a neat line in resembling a laundry, is already multi-tasking as a dining room and office/study).

I don’t think I’m alone in the problem. Thinking back on my previous flats in cities, there was never a good solution to the drying clothes issue (none of them sadly had an Aga).

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* One flat was in a mews and had a garage, which was a helpful space although understandably the landlord hadn’t installed heating in it so clothes tended to drip away until finally all the water had evaporated, leaving some quite strange creases which were hard to iron out (I didn’t bother).
* Another house had a downstairs loo with space for a separate washing machine and dryer (big news for London) but nowhere to hang the clothes (the ‘garden’ was a well which saw about 20 minutes of sunlight daily).
* Again another house had a washer dryer that was kind enough to burn holes in my clothes before shrinking them. The banisters doubled up as a drying rack but my landlady-and-flatmate wasn’t too keen on the resulting aesthetics.
* Aforementioned Madrid flat had a strange conservatory added-on (space for 1.5 people) which had a clothes rack but again suffered in the winter from no heating so clothes were ‘freeze dried’. In the summer, however, it was better.
* Barcelona was the best option. Clement weather and year round sunshine plus access to the roof (which had a clothes line for everyone to use) meant we had no trouble. But there, as in the rest of Spain, the machines use cold water to wash the clothes so they never really get clean…but that’s for another day.